Completing a geocache challenge in northern Oregon

Heading north for a week’s stay in Anacortes, WA, we paused for a couple of days to do some geocaching. I have been working to complete the Jasmer Challenge {find a cache—any cache—hidden in every month since geocaching began). As you might imagine, in the early months, not many caches were hidden, and since caches tend to have a finite lifetime, old caches can be rare. One of the old caches I found this year was in the Manti-LaSal National Forest in Utah—it was the closest cache hidden in that particular month. The rest of the caches I needed to complete the challenge were in Oregon (Salem/Portland general area).

The first day, we headed out early from our motel in Salem with GC16 6/4/2000 as our destination. We drove through Molalla, then up the Molalla River several miles to a trailhead parking area. We followed a nice wide trail up the side of the ridge and then traversed to the site of the cache. It was fairly thick forest, and everything was very wet from a recent rain.

The next cache up was GC18RVM Oregon’s “Well Rounded Cacher” aka Oregon’s Fizzy, a challenge cache I qualify for, but not part of the Jasmer Challenge. We finally found the trailhead parking area after getting turned around a couple of times. Many cachers have difficulty getting to this cache without bushwhacking, but I had done extensive web recon, and knew the right trails to take to get directly to it. I’m so glad we didn’t have to bushwhack because the thick vegetation was soaking wet.

Original stash plaque

Original stash plaque

For the final cache of the day we stopped at GCGV0P Original Stash Tribute Plaque. This was the location of the very first hide (May 3, 2000) that kicked-off the geocaching activities.

We stayed the night in Clackamas and headed out bright and early east on Wildcat Mountain drive. Our destination was GC12 and GC17. The cache descriptions on how to approach the caches don’t really apply anymore because the Forest Service is demolishing a number of roads in the area. Again, extensive web research was so useful, and we parked at a large dirt berm that was blocking an old paved road. It was a simple hike down to the GC12 cache. The only disconcerting thing was the gunshots off in the near distance.

Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood

For GC17 we took another route not referenced in the cache description and had a nice hike up to the top of the ridge. There was a beautiful view of Mt. Hood from this ridge and the cache was easily found. When we returned to the car we met a deputy sheriff who was in the area investigating the gun shots. He said shooting wasn’t allowed in that area. That completed all the caches I needed for the Jasmer Challenge.

After finding those two old caches we headed north to Anacortes. The drive took longer than anticipated, and we arrived at our rental house long after dark and I could not see the address numbers on the houses. I called the owner for help, and luckily he happened to be in town buying another house, so he popped right over and showed us the way. (Well, actually, about the time he arrived I found the right house). Still, this reinforces my belief that we should not plan to arrive at a rental house after dark.

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